University of Chicago Student Sues Fraternity Over Hazing

A University of Chicago student is suing the Illinois chapter and national organization of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, alleging he was physically assaulted and forced to drink alcohol until he blacked out.

Dylan Kanaan filed the suit Friday in Cook County Circuit Court against the fraternity and 13 of its members, according to the lawsuit.

Kanaan alleges that on March 7, 2015, he was required to participate in a fraternity ritual, sometimes referred to as a “pinning ceremony.” After the ceremony, he was forced to drink about eight shots of liquor and six beers in 20-30 minutes, even though he was told there would be no alcohol at the event, the suit said.

A fraternity member then pressured him into drinking a cup of clear-green liquid containing Everclear, a grain liquor that is 190 proof, the suit said. Kanaan then blacked out and was taken to a bedroom in the basement of the fraternity house, where he was physically assaulted.

When he regained consciousness, he attempted to run out of the house, but was restrained by the fraternity members, the suit said. He later escaped through the back door and ran around to the front, where he was physically assaulted again by a fraternity member.

Kanaan alleges that as a result of the assaults, he spent seven hours in the hospital, suffered severe facial injuries — including a permanent scar under his left eye — and was diagnosed with “depression and PTSD, manifesting as severe anxiety, sleep issues and weight loss,” the suit said.

The five count suit seeks damages in excess of $250,000.

The Illinois chapter was disbanded in January 2016.

“As a policy, Phi Delta Theta does not comment on the specifics of any pending litigation except to reiterate that Phi Delta Theta is a values-based organization which prohibits hazing and takes any such allegations seriously,” an emailed statement from the fraternity’s Chief Operating Officer Sean Wagner said.

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